Paolo's Circus Story

Random Thoughts + Discussion: Springsteen edition

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1 hour ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

This ranking is determined by personal preference and has not been affected by The Greatest Springsteen Song Tournament.

Could you not make a poll about Greatest Bruce Springsteen album closer?

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2 minutes ago, janeymarywendy said:

Thank God for that :D

I'm looking forward to the coming months when more and more people who I believed enjoyed the polls start saying this after I say no to doing another one :lol:

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I hope no one took offence to my Real Man bashing posts. It was all intended in good fun but on re-reading them (especially the one responding to another poster) it came across a little bit like I was having a go at someone for liking a song I didn't which wasn't what I was trying to do. Sometimes what was meant to be a humourous jibe doesn't translate well in writing, so apologies.

As penance, I'm going to admit that I quite like both the studio and the 92/93 live versions of 57 Channels and invite anyone so inclined to take a free swing at my own dubious tastes....

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7 hours ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

I'm not a fan of "Real Man" in the sense that I don't really enjoy listening to it over many other Springsteen songs. However, because of its importance in my Uni Dissertation, it's one of the songs I appreciate Bruce writing the most. 

I think somebody mentioned this a while back, but the song does have some good contextual lyrics with the whole Rambo referencing and "I don't need no gun in my fist all I need is your sweet kiss". It's a nice callback to the perception of him as this Rambo-esque macho man people will have had from 1984/85 because of:

bruce-springsteen-1985-lg.jpg

And it's cool that Bruce addressed the idea of that persona and rebuked it. Though there can be an argument made that these lyrics and therefore "Real Man" as a whole were the major factor behind the mainstream popularity of Springsteen dwindling in the 90s. 

That's interesting. I always took the line "ain't no church bells ringing, ain't no flag unfurled" from Real World as Bruce's declaration he had moved on from the TOL and BITUSA periods respectively. So thematically related to your observation.

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3 minutes ago, Bosstralian said:

"ain't no church bells ringing, ain't no flag unfurled" 

My interpretation is that he wanted to lay low, without all the attention and the pomp... 

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16 hours ago, BobbyJames said:

I’m going to be 100% honest here - before I joined this forum I used to listen to Real Man a lot because I loved it - and I still do! What is wrong with me?! It’s horifically cheesy but I love it for that!:lol:

As berlin said, that's totally okay! That's actually the exact reason I chose the username I did: I think there are some playful songs that get a bit of an unfair rap -- which isn't to say that they're not wrong to like those songs or anything, but I don't think they necessarily deserve the vitriol they sometimes get -- and to me, Outlaw Pete and Crush on You (though the latter seemed to have an uptick in reputation after it was a high point of the River Tour 2016 shows!) are two of 'em. Two of my "guilty" pleasures that I don't even feel guilty about, because while I understand the criticisms and agree they're not perfect songs, I still think they're damn good ones that I enjoy every time.

 

I feel the same way about "Surprise, Surprise" and "Queen of the Supermarket". Surprise, Surprise is honestly a great song in my book, for what it is, and while Queen is dragged down by some of the... creepiness (the fact that the song is ultimately about a cashier rather than the supermarket itself, the voyeuristic line "and sure she's unobserved"...), musically I think it's very strong and I unironically LOVE the original premise and conceit of it of appreciating the supermarket as an entity. I could write a good couple paragraphs on that song.

 

So, I personally have my own semi-unpopular favorites, and I'm all for people liking whatever out of the way ones or readily ignored ones he's put out, since at least they're getting joy out of something he did, even if it did less for me individually. Even the ones that aren't to my taste I only very rarely consider bad songs. "Fire" is like the only one I have real animosity about as a song; the worst crime I think many of his other songs hit is being a little out of place or shallow.

9 hours ago, Rizla said:

Of course it was.  It was Bruce giving us a glimpse into his private world, showing us his enjoyment of being a Dad. 
I am continually staggered when people treat this with such contempt.  I don't have children, but I do have the empathy to appreciate this. 
Bruce was sharing something very personal here.  Some people just don't deserve the privilege.

Yeah, I don't want it to sound like I have contempt for it or anything. I mean, it's just a silly little song. But at the same time, I don't think it means people lack empathy and are undeserving of personal music if they don't like the song or something -- that seems like it's being as harsh, towards other human beings, as they are on the song.

 

For me personally, I'm all for very personal Bruce content; a lot of my favorite songs fit that mold. At the same time, being personal of course doesn't inherently make it necessarily good and to me Pony Boy misses that mark. I'm fine with the fact that it exists as a thing, I don't like take offense to it or anything -- but I still don't think it's a good song, even if I think it's sweet on a human level that he felt compelled to make it, and I especially dislike it as a closing track, where I tend to expect much more. If it were on Tracks or a B-side or something, or even in the middle of the album, I'd probably have a lot less of a problem with it.

 

...Also, if anyone was wondering, the other members of my HT bottom three are "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" and "With Every Wish", both of which I'd rank below Pony Boy for basically the reason expressed by Rizla - that it is at least sweet enough conceptually.

 

9 hours ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

It's a nice callback to the perception of him as this Rambo-esque macho man people will have had from 1984/85  And it's cool that Bruce addressed the idea of that persona and rebuked it. 

Totally agreed. For a guy who's often seen culturally as a portrait of typical masculinity, I like that there exists a song in his discography that pretty much takes a stand against that, or at least against the idea that that's a necessity to be valuable. I think it hits on some great themes.

...I only wish it hit on them a whole lot better! But I do agree that it has more going on at least cerebrally than it gets credit for, and I think it's often kind of misread as being basically the chest-beating Macho Man anthem that it's specifically rebuking.

 

7 hours ago, Lampi said:

My Beautiful Reward. That is 10 years, not a decade and a half.

I like that one, and it gave me very slight pause while making the comment. I do think it's a good, effective closing track. But I don't think it's a GREAT one in the same vein as or on the same level as some of the most generally respected ones in the canon -- like it's good, it works, I like it, but I don't think it's as much of a bona fide CLASSIC as something like Darkness on the Edge of Town, and I think MCOR earns that status immediately.

2 hours ago, Bosstralian said:

That's interesting. I always took the line "ain't no church bells ringing, ain't no flag unfurled" from Real World as Bruce's declaration he had moved on from the TOL and BITUSA periods respectively. So thematically related to your observation.

Oooooh I LOVE this take! This is great, wow. I always took it as, as @Silvia said, just generally being a lyric about a lack of pomp -- but considering the specific imagery of "flag" and "church bells", I think you're 100% right that it's disavowing the sort of artifice of BitUSA and the cynicism or self-flagellating anxiety of Tunnel of Love. Wow, great catch, surprised I didn't think of it before, but I absolutely love this, thank you. Real World is one of my favorites and TOL is in my top 3 albums, so this will stick with me and has immediately enhanced both of them even more.

 

@Paolo's Circus Story I love that you did this. I've thought about ranking them in the past but thought it might be too daunting, but now I feel like I have to take part in this and do a closing track ranking at long last. I definitely have some thoughts on your list oh man.

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7 hours ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

and is really benefited by some fucking sublime moments of ESSENCE. 

  1. "Reason to Believe"
    *See above. Isn't it class how the party album ended with one to get you down and the stark realisation of life album ended with one to rise you up? . 
  2. "Devil's Arcade
    Right, so should I have included "Terry's Song" instead? I wasn't sure about bonus tracks, because in doing that I'd have had to include "Swallowed Up" over "We Are Alive" and that would've been shit. "Devil's Arcade" is mint for me purely on the name alone. War is the Devil's playground/game, Bruce played a blinder in the titling of this one. It took me longer than it should have to love this song, but I'm glad the moment eventually came. Everything about it is stunning, with the intro and that fucking build up around 3 and a half minutes being the songs highlights. 
  3. "We Are Alive"
    For me, the unofficial tribute song for Clarence Clemons. "Let your mind rest easy, sleep well my friend, it’s only our bodies that betray us in the end" has been Bruce singing to C in my mind since the very first time I heard it.
  4. "Valentine's Day"
    I don't know what it is with "Valentine's Day", but I always loved tracks 6 - 11 and then this seemed to me to be a random change in tone - and not like on The River and Nebraska. I expect after listening to it again the other night (And right now actually) it'd be higher up if I did this ranking in about 6 months time. Maybe it's that I actually haven't listened to it and taken it in that much over the years. Hm, stay tuned with this one. Oh, and saying what I've said, I do really like the "a friend of mine became a father last night" lyric written for Mr Landau, a very nice touch. 
  5. "Dream Baby Dream"
    Honestly, after "Down in the Hole" it's my least favourite song on the album, but I prefer it to the ones listed below. 

Handful of thoughts, particularly on the parts I left in:

- Personally I'd say TOL is the best-structured Springsteen record; it's practically a concept album, and there's practically no way any song on it could have even been placed differently -- other than Spare Parts, Cautious Man, and TOL, which were then, of course, placed in the absolute perfect spots on the album. I guess BTR too, as much as that's a cliche when every single song is perfect so of course it'll feel structured perfectly... but it's in there, too. Darkness would be neck-and-neck with BTR for 2nd best album structure for me, though, I think. "Magic" also deserves a serious nod of course. But, TOL is tops there in my book.

- What do you mean by "Essence", re: Darkness?

- I'd disagree on "Reason to Believe" necessarily lifting one up (it actually triggered a slight existential crisis for one good friend of mine the first time he heard it lol.) I guess that'd be more something to say in my own list -- but I think it's at best a kind of mixed, ambiguous affair. It's definitely one of the Bruce songs with the most to dissect thematically, though, at any rate - and it's certainly a perfect way to conclude the album, however one reads it.

- Love that you mentioned the importance of context, I agree completely while knowing some folks whose general approach is to eschew context and that to me is taking such an inherently limited view -- I get it -- but I think it invariably leaves out parts of the message. (Although, even the most "I don't really care about the context in which a work was created" guy I know STILL acknowledged that Worlds Apart being released in 2002 blew his mind and made the song way better, haha.)

- "American Land" comes after "Swallowed Up", so it would be the closing track in that case -- which I have some thoughts about myself -- but I definitely agree on picking Devil's Arcade over Terry's Song. A better song, a better close, and actually relevant to the preceding songs. Not to say Terry's Song is bad in any way necessarily - just that it's more "I really want to release this, so I'm putting it on the album" while Devil's Arcade is the end of Magic "proper", in any meaningful sense. Thematically it ties to the earlier songs, and musically it's clearly meant to draw it to a close.

Also as a massive spoiler for my own list I love Devil's Arcade and I love every time I ever see someone praise it in any capacity so I am thrilled it ended up so high on your list.

- I like your take on "We Are Alive" being to Clarence. Never thought of that. That makes the song a little bit better for me than it was before, thanks.

- When you say Valentine's Day is "A change in tone", do you just mean in terms of the sound, or do you mean you think it doesn't connect to the past ones in its lyrics and themes? In either case, perhaps my write-up will nudge your opinion the tiniest bit in the more positive direction! I'd be interested in what you mean by the disconnect you feel about it, if you can elaborate.

- <3 the Kitty's Back reference -- I also totally agree with your Last Carnival take and was worried that there were some hidden themes to WOAD as an album I was missing and I'd get raked over the coals for calling it, as you did, an album of nice songs without much overarching connection -- though I should have known better since lol I'm one of the bigger WOAD fans out there compared to how most people feel on it -- so I'm glad you feel about the same.

- Oh man, dude, just stay tuned for my miniature essay on "Down in the Hole". It's coming. It's been one of the songs I most want to write at length about for, like, a year and a half. It just hasn't happened yet -- I've started a post, but not finished it -- but to me that is one of the greatest. Anyways, Dream Baby Dream pretty clearly is what it is, I feel like there's little to add, but I love it personally. Also if Bruce croaks before releasing the Glen Campbell album, it'd be an awesome final song to his car....oh god wait the Outtakes disc was released later... which means MR. OUTSIDE would be the final song. Bruce, please, stay with us!!! But in terms of studio albums, it's a great hypothetical closing-track-to-end-all-closing-tracks, I think.

 

Okay, stay tuned for my own ranking.... some time or another, maybe not tonight... but it's coming.

 

Really enjoyed reading yours.

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Reason To Believe is an interesting one. Is the message an optimistic "these people have been beaten down, but look at their resilience as they look positively to the future"? Or as some have argued previously, is it actually the album's most despairing track? "These people have been beaten down, why are they so stupid to keep believing in a better future?" I myself don't hear a definitive answer either way, either interpretation seems possible to me.

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My ranking, now! Part 1, at least; I'll separate it into a couple posts. Like Paolo, I'm considering just the albums here. I'm also trying to consider not just the song itself, but also how effectively it functions AS a closing track and what the song, and the song being in that spot, does for the work as a whole -- meaning that this'll likely be a bit distinct from if I just ranked the songs as songs on their own. I'll try to note any such instances.

 

18) Froggie Went A-Courtin' - I hope they had fun recording this, I'm sure they probably did, and it has no place in my life. When Seeger Sessions hits the mark for me, it absolutely hits it with a very unique sound I can't find anywhere else in his career -- "Mrs. McGrath" is the most representative example, but "How Can A...?"/"How Can I...?" are my two favorites to be found here, and "Shenandoah" is very pretty and "Eyes on the Prize" is great... but the overall aesthetic of the album -- basically it's a very bold artistic work, one that I'm sure is very good at being what it is, and one that absolutely massively does not appeal to me that I, on a purely subjective level, cannot stomach. "Froggie Went A-Courtin'" embodies this! It's a very unique recording, very artistically valid and I'm sure quite fun if you're into this sort of thing, but I am decidedly not.

 

17) Pony Boy - My thoughts on this were made clear earlier. It's harmless and inoffensive and has no business being a Bruce Springsteen closing track in my book, even if I'm sure he had a smile on his face while writing it. To me it's hardly different from ending an album on Chicken Lips and Lizard Hips.

 

16) Matamoros Banks - This has huge potential to rise on the list a couple of spots, but just like Paolo, I have very little investment in this album overall ("All The Way Home" - an all-time underrated Bruce song - notwithstanding.) The concept here is amazing and makes it much more effective... and that's something I'm in no way qualified to appreciate as "the turtles eat the flesh from your eyes" is the only line I can remember without Googling, and I honestly have no memory of what this song sounds like. If and when I listen to the album's promising songs more, I bet this'll rise in my estimation, but for now, it's here, surely at least a spot or two too low.

 

15) My Best Was Never Good Enough - Not quite sure what the aim is here, to be honest. This is an album about people suffering and dying, so this seems a little... light-hearted in comparison? Like it belongs more at a show on the tour than on the album, especially at the end. Like, the closest this comes to being emotional is that it has a vague overall sentiment of self-deprecation and regret over messing up a relationship -- but it hardly conveys that in a distinct way, and even if it did, introspection about intimate/interpersonal loss is wildly out of line with the rest of the album thematically, as it's generally an album about socioeconomic struggle. So I'm not sure what's going on here, but it's easy enough to listen to, on the very rare occasions when I do, and it's one of the few GOTJ songs that have made a distinct impression on me, so that's something? "Across the Border" might be a better closing track, though perhaps a bit too optimistic. Heck, just close with some reprise of the title track. I don't know, but better options surely exist.

 

14) My Beautiful Reward - It's a nice enough song -- though, not unlike My Best, I have a bit of a hard time telling what it's going for. Not in the same way, though - My Best is simply perplexing and appears to not fit with the album, where this appears to be at odds? It sounds quite pretty and nice, and appears on probably the most hopeful, happy Bruce album - but the lyrics seem dark, unfulfilled? It's a bit of a strange note to end on, and not what I expect from the title, the sound, or the rest of the album. But then, maybe that's the point: maybe it's about how, even though he's searching (as shown in the words) he's still at peace (as shown in the lyrics) -- a song about how you don't have to be where you want to be to still be happy and content. That's a powerful, moving message if so... but it's also kind of a guess and not something that the song arrives at clearly, if it's the intention at all. I dunno. Musically, it's fine enough; it feels similar to other songs from the same era, on the same album, and doesn't do anything to surpass them -- frankly I think most of them are better. So it's a nice song, a bit of an interesting one, but interesting mostly means a bit confusing, to me, and I'd generally sooner listen to "Book of Dreams", which sounds much the same but just a bit better. I'd be interested in any other takes on what this song is meant to accomplish, as I can't quite grasp it myself.

 

(Moderately sizable gap)

 

13) We Are Alive - Paolo felt he had it too high; I'm certain I have it too low. :P  But it's not a song I ever seek out; I only listen to it when listening through the album, and often not even then. The sound works for the lyrics -- it feels in a sense like a campfire song, it has a bit of a folksiness that fits the connection to the past that it's all about, but it has a bit of the flourish and drama I'd generally expect from a Wrecking Ball track. I certainly love the idea here; ending an album about adversity on a more hopeful note -- suggesting that there have been times like, or worse than, this before and that just as we rebounded before, we can rebound again -- is a nice enough idea, and pairs pretty well with LOHAD (which itself pairs stunningly with Rocky Ground.) However, I don't think it gets there in a particularly interesting way: the second verse, the real crux of the song, is just too... direct and matter-of-fact, I think; "I died in year X in place Y" -- it works, I suppose, to convey the theme, but it just feels too simple and shallow for my liking and doesn't make me care about the theme, you know? I've always felt that it's just a little too... clear about what it's trying to do, and a strongwriter like Bruce could draw the connection at least a bit more deftly and subtly.

 

I guess you could debate how valid or meaningful the central conceit of the song is in itself, really; it's a nice idea, but... when people died on the railroads or in Birmingham, they -- most likely -- didn't live on metaphysically to give vicarious strength to those who would be disenfranchised later on. They died. So it feels a little too feel-good for my liking in that sense -- and if the message is that "America as a whole can and will rebound from this", that's all fine and dandy, but I don't think that means all that much to the guy in Jack of All Trades - or the protestor in Birmingham - who themselves remain disenfranchised, whose lives are unchanged by whatever progress might come after they're gone. So, I don't know. I've tended to consider the song "a nice sentiment, but too direct for my liking" - but upon further reflection I may honestly think the sentiment is a bit misguided and put it below My Beautiful Reward.

 

It's certainly a nice enough idea, though, and the music works pretty well.. but I feel like it doesn't pack enough of a punch, or give as much to think about, for a closing track; I think it'd work better as an emotional centerpiece earlier on in the album. Swapping it with "Rocky Ground" -- having this one lead in to LOHAD, and having the more heartfelt, poetic, realistic intermingling of adversity and justice captured in RG -- would be a better fit, imo. I actually absolutely never stop the album here and never have; I always end with Swallowed Up/American Land, and actually - for quite some time - considered Swallowed Up/American Land one of the best conclusions to any Bruce album before having any idea they were bonus tracks. As such, while I'm omitting most bonus tracks, I'm gonna go ahead and include Wrecking Ball "American Land" (not Seeger "American Land", though) as a bonus entry later on, just to rave about how I think it's a better close.

 

12) My Hometown - It's a very good song. Bruce's storytelling ability is on clear display here; the image of a kid being able to safely run down the street at the start of the story, vs. the danger at the end that would implicitly make it impossible, is a great way of non-verbally illustrating how much worse the overall climate of the town grows over time. The second verse cuts deep after how sweet and reflective the first one is, and the continued usage of "MY hometown" makes me invested by selling me on Bruce's continued emotional attachment to it -- even before the song closes on a direct affirmation of that. The shift to "Your hometown" from "My hometown" is nicely done, too. Musically, there's not much to say; it expects how I'd expect it to sound for a solemn BitUSA song.

 

It doesn't rank higher for me because -- while I certainly like it quite a bit and respect it -- I think it's "pop Bruce storytelling". I think that songs like "Whitetown" or "Iceman" cover somewhat similar subject matter but in defter, more subtle ways; this song does its job well, but I think it does so essentially in a somewhat... comparatively "easy", shallow way that doesn't have much deeper to dig into beyond the immediate surface impact -- but on the other hand, for the smash commercial success that was Born in the U.S.A., maybe that's the point? After all, this was a song I loved before I knew more Bruce, when I first heard it at age ~14. At that time, when the idea of a song telling a story or setting a scene was pretty much new to me, this song sucked me into the concept very nicely and had me want to hear more by the guy. And so maybe that's part of its role - that of a stepping stone as a quite good story song, to bridge the gap towards the even better ones.

 

Also, in its defense, while I talk about other songs having similar subject matter, I have to admit that none have the same as this one. Many Bruce songs take place in the setting of one like that which this song reaches by its end -- but few really capture the depreciation up to that point, and the sentimentality specifically for the town itself even in spite of that is certainly a unique angle to this song that I tend to underrate and underappreciate; only "Long Walk Home" comes to mind as doing something similar, but that's more political. So in calling this song "pop Bruce storytelling" or comparatively easy, I'm not trying to knock it, and I'm not saying it's some shallow song - only that I think it's a little bit easier and less profound or poetic than other really, really great songs. This one isn't one I listen to much these days, but I did when I was first getting into him, and that's probably what it's there for, and it's still quite good.

 

(Very sizable gap)

 

11) The Last Carnival - An absolutely beautiful song and way to end an album. We're really getting into the greats now. I mean, this is just amazing - winding an album down to a close with this moonlit, guitar driven ode to a lost friend, a fallen bandmate... with a callback to a deep cut released thirty-six years earlier... I-

---okay, I was going to stop the post after writing about The Last Carnival and finish up with Part 2 later, but I'm getting too emotionally moved by this song, I have chills and I'm almost crying, so I'm going to just cut it here instead. This song is beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Listen to it.

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14 hours ago, CrushOnOutlawPete said:

the other members of my HT bottom three are "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" and "With Every Wish" 

Boooo!!!!!!!:angry::angry::angry:                (But OK, it is your personal opinion:))

And 57 Channels is a funny song full of self-mockery, never meant to be a great song (see also: Local Hero and TV Movie).

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14 hours ago, CrushOnOutlawPete said:

though I should have known better since lol I'm one of the bigger WOAD fans out there compared to how most people feel on it -- so I'm glad you feel about the same.

No. It seems to me most fans like, or love, the very beautiful WOAD album; but the WOAD-bashers [and the High Hopes-bashers, too] are just a loud-screaming, noise-making minority, pretending they are a majority.

This said, WOAD is indeed more a collection of songs than a really cohesive record (in this, it is a very untypical Bruce Springsteen album, as our man is a master in structuring and sequencing albums and setlists).

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15 hours ago, Bosstralian said:

Reason To Believe is an interesting one. Is the message an optimistic "these people have been beaten down, but look at their resilience as they look positively to the future"? Or as some have argued previously, is it actually the album's most despairing track? "These people have been beaten down, why are they so stupid to keep believing in a better future?" I myself don't hear a definitive answer either way, either interpretation seems possible to me.

Yes! The way I see it, both elements are present in the song and that's exactly what makes it interesting. It's definitely one of my very favourites on Nebraska and I'd absolutely love to hear it live! 

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16 hours ago, CrushOnOutlawPete said:

- Personally I'd say TOL is the best-structured Springsteen record; it's practically a concept album, and there's practically no way any song on it could have even been placed differently -- other than Spare Parts, Cautious Man, and TOL, which were then, of course, placed in the absolute perfect spots on the album. I guess BTR too, as much as that's a cliche when every single song is perfect so of course it'll feel structured perfectly... but it's in there, too. Darkness would be neck-and-neck with BTR for 2nd best album structure for me, though, I think. "Magic" also deserves a serious nod of course. But, TOL is tops there in my book.

Good post. At some point I expect a ranking of album structuring. I'd do one myself now but I can't be arsed to waste another hour, so yeah...

16 hours ago, CrushOnOutlawPete said:

What do you mean by "Essence", re: Darkness?

Oh you have been away a while haven't you?

On 10/25/2018 at 7:05 PM, Paolo's Circus Story said:
16 hours ago, CrushOnOutlawPete said:

- I'd disagree on "Reason to Believe" necessarily lifting one up (it actually triggered a slight existential crisis for one good friend of mine the first time he heard it lol.) I guess that'd be more something to say in my own list -- but I think it's at best a kind of mixed, ambiguous affair. It's definitely one of the Bruce songs with the most to dissect thematically, though, at any rate - and it's certainly a perfect way to conclude the album, however one reads it.

To "Raise someone up" was probably the wrong words. To give someone some hope might have been better. 

16 hours ago, CrushOnOutlawPete said:

- "American Land" comes after "Swallowed Up", so it would be the closing track in that case -- which I have some thoughts about myself -- but I definitely agree on picking Devil's Arcade over Terry's Song. A better song, a better close, and actually relevant to the preceding songs. Not to say Terry's Song is bad in any way necessarily - just that it's more "I really want to release this, so I'm putting it on the album" while Devil's Arcade is the end of Magic "proper", in any meaningful sense. Thematically it ties to the earlier songs, and musically it's clearly meant to draw it to a close.

Well in that case I definitely couldn't have used bonuses because then I'd have had to include the same song twice on WB and Seeger. 

16 hours ago, CrushOnOutlawPete said:

When you say Valentine's Day is "A change in tone", do you just mean in terms of the sound, or do you mean you think it doesn't connect to the past ones in its lyrics and themes? In either case, perhaps my write-up will nudge your opinion the tiniest bit in the more positive direction! I'd be interested in what you mean by the disconnect you feel about it, if you can elaborate

In terms of the sound. I've always felt that it seems to be him singing about a love saved rather than a love lost. 

16 hours ago, CrushOnOutlawPete said:

Also if Bruce croaks before releasing the Glen Campbell album, it'd be an awesome final song to his car....oh god wait the Outtakes disc was released later... which means MR. OUTSIDE would be the final song. Bruce, please, stay with us!!!

"Mr Outside" is a tremendous little song and I won't have a bad word said about it.

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1 hour ago, *Janey* said:

Yes! The way I see it, both elements are present in the song and that's exactly what makes it interesting. It's definitely one of my very favourites on Nebraska and I'd absolutely love to hear it live! 

With or without the bullet mic?:D

So there is:

BUSA Tour version.

Joad Tour solo version.

2005 solo version with bullet mic.

Magic Tour version.

And maybe some other versions I forget now.

Which is the best version? (Maybe someone could do a poll about this?:P)

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14 hours ago, Lampi said:

And 57 Channels is a funny song full of self-mockery, never meant to be a great song (see also: Local Hero and TV Movie).

I guess the humor just doesn't land with me; I can't say I'm a fan of the others you named either, personally. That said, I'll admit the Christic verison of 57 Channels strikes me as a little funny and I'm okay with it. It feels a little livelier there, whereas on the album it feels so sleepy that I think it sucks any of the comedy out kind of.

14 hours ago, Lampi said:

No. It seems to me most fans like, or love, the very beautiful WOAD album; but the WOAD-bashers [and the High Hopes-bashers, too] are just a loud-screaming, noise-making minority, pretending they are a majority.

This said, WOAD is indeed more a collection of songs than a really cohesive record (in this, it is a very untypical Bruce Springsteen album, as our man is a master in structuring and sequencing albums and setlists).

Interesting. I thought it was a consensus bottom two album with Human Touch; maybe we need a poll on this as well... I do agree that it's more a collection of songs and that's what keeps it relatively lower on my list, but I have few to no problems with it, either; for many artists a collection of songs is exactly what you expect to get -- the bar is just higher for Bruce. But WOAD has some great songs and is one of the two albums that got me into him in the first place.

12 hours ago, Paolo's Circus Story said:

Good post. At some point I expect a ranking of album structuring. I'd do one myself now but I can't be arsed to waste another hour, so yeah...

Oh you have been away a while haven't you?

To "Raise someone up" was probably the wrong words. To give someone some hope might have been better. 

Well in that case I definitely couldn't have used bonuses because then I'd have had to include the same song twice on WB and Seeger. 

In terms of the sound. I've always felt that it seems to be him singing about a love saved rather than a love lost. 

Haha, an album structuring ranking is an idea... of course, it'd turn out similar to an album ranking, come to think of it; I named four of my top five while naming the best-structured ones. The only major change between the lists would be TOL moving from #3 to #1.

Half-asleep now but I'll be sure to check out the ESSENCE thing -- I think I've seen it referenced in another thread so I'm aware it's a running thing but not aware what it is -- so yes, I have been gone some time!

Raise up or give hope seem about the same to me, in this instance. Or functionally so at any rate. Raising up or giving hope, either way the idea expressed there is that it's a more uplifting song - where I personally find it to be more ambiguous.

Sure, it's the same song twice... but a different album appearance/recording, which is what's being considered anyway by omitting live versions. ;)

 

I like your love saved vs. love lost thing. I definitely see how it could sound like the former... but I think that that's perfectly fine for the song. Stay tuned for more thoughts on this. ;)

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12 hours ago, Lampi said:

With or without the bullet mic?:D

So there is:

BUSA Tour version.

Joad Tour solo version.

2005 solo version with bullet mic.

Magic Tour version.

And maybe some other versions I forget now.

Which is the best version? (Maybe someone could do a poll about this?:P)

I'd be happy with any version but I guess I'm slightly leaning towards the bullet mic version. 

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I always heard WOAD as a representation (or at least an attempt at capturing) what Bruce heard boppin along to the radio on the boardwalk in the 60's. So you get Beach Boys harmonies (This Life), Spector style teen symphony (QOTS), Creedence country (Tomorrow Never Knows  - title nod to Beatles also), garage rock (My Lucky Day) and so on. It's stylistic variety is the cohesive theme in a perverse way

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On 1/17/2018 at 3:29 PM, Paolo's Circus Story said:

You might recall that sometime last year I deleted all studio albums from my iTunes in favour of primarily listening to live Bruce. Well, after going on YouTube and playing the first so many seconds of each song on the BITUSA album, I'd say that decision was a success. Having not heard these studio versions in ages I'm getting cool, weird vibes and a shot of nostalgia that had long faded.

Also, I need to start listening to No Surrender a lot more again.

A 2019 update on this:

1286581810_ScreenShot2019-01-01at21_27_28.thumb.png.12113cadcb18e99d6e36bfa5295200b8.png

I expect they'll all be back on there, or at the very least the first 8 albums will, by the end of the year. 

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So the sign on the Walter Kerr has come down... and Bruce is full of turkey and stuffing.  I can't help but feeling it must be an *interesting* time to be around the man right now.

We know he's thinking about getting back to his day job.

So right about now, some pretty wild phone calls to JLM may be underway.

Don't think so?

It was this time in 1982 he put the wraps on the Nebraska sessions.

And also around this time he made the call to reconvene the band in NYC for the Blood Brothers reunion.

Very. Early. January.

2019 might be quite kind to us....

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I started listening to Springsteen on Broadway again yesterday before MSG '88 was released, listening to the rest now. A couple of thoughts I had yesterday and the last few days that might be worth posting. 

During the intro for "My Hometown", when he says "they did their very best. The best that they could." I think it might be the most perfect line he's ever spoken about his dad. 

Also with that intro, for some reason I found myself wondering how his sister reacted to hearing what he was saying when she was in attendance. Like, I was wondering if she remembered playing amongst the graves and all that. Having read from many on here how much that "I gotcha" hit them in an emotional sense, I can't fathom how she must have felt.

When he starts playing "Wipe Out" and you can hear the guitar tuned for "Born in the U.S.A." start to reverberate, that's a bit eerie in a way, that. 

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NOW you're talkin'!

Somebody sent me some '88 stuff and reminded me of why I came here in the first place.

One of my favourite songs. A mate started playing it in his car, thinking we didn't know it … then the back seat yelled out the chorus. Good days, indeed.

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